Vlaďka Erbová is currently passing through a strange and unpleasant stage of her life. Even when she moved across half of the republic to Brno, to get some peace, her former husband, Tomáš Řepka with his girlfriend, Kateřina Kristelová won´t leave her alone. The former playmate and mother of two children nevertheless doesn´t talk about the hardships “grown” in the past. Not only because of the children, but also because of her own psychological and physical well-being. Currently she focuses on helping those who need it. Once again she is starting a Christmas campaign to help ontologically diseased children. And the greatest support is her partner, Michal Gulaši, with whom she is even thinking about sealing the relationship… To find out more in this interview with Luxury Prague Life.
After how long did you again come to Prague?
In the beginning I came relatively frequently, at least once a week. Now it´s about once a month, but sometimes not even that.
Why is that?
There is usually work, meetings or doctors. I have a dentist here and a lot of other specialists. Then of course I get in touch with friends and friends of the children. Most of the times I try to also see my parents. I plan the journey for a long time, very thoroughly.
How long have you lived in Brno now?
For the third year running.
Did you get used to it there?
I am still getting used to it. I have to say to me Brno is firstly family, secondly privacy and thirdly peace. But still I don´t quite know my way around and I am like a visitor. I haven´t got used to the Brno traffic, with the new parking habits. So I am learning everything.
And are your children happy there?
The children are very happy there. It is perhaps about the family environment, which is calm and contented. The second thing is that the children are busy with sports. Viktorinka has figure skating, Markusek hockey. Markus attends a sports school Kometka, where they have a beautiful approach to children as well as the programme. Victoria attends a German grammar school.
I think that it is there, as regards education and training for the future, absolutely fantastic. But they miss their buddies and grandmother for sure. They both realise that we are there as a family, they have a set daily family "rituals" and I can see how it has a positive effect on them.
Are you happy there with your partner?
I am happy. I have a relationship, I have healthy children. I will be happy anywhere where we will be together and will work together like this.
This is all very idyllic, the children and your partnership are fine. Where is the scar?
Scars are in the past, which somehow surface time to time. All the time and in different ways. It often has an impact on the children, so I try care for them more. But unfortunately, it is not always successful to leave them out of it completely. Vikrorinka is a great reader and Markus who doesn´t read yet very soon will. The environment where we are has eyes and ears. What is in the newspaper is always read or told to them by someone. They are not comfortable with it.
Here in Prague you have been like under a microscope. Whatever you do there are photographers, in Brno that´s not the case. Do you see it in a way that the people there are not so interested in your past?
Yes, definitely. In that way, Brno is kind of pleasant, for me, it means privacy and peace. My neighbour takes me as a mum from two children and my partner is accepted as a stepfather of the children. It is not like that he is a famous hockey player or that I have some special name. It is kind of friendlier, more family-focused. I have to say that even today´s event was supported by some of my Brno clients and friends. That´s the nice thing about it, people are more friendly there. Prague is much cooler.
Who are your clients?
I returned to my many-year career and I´ve been working in Brno as a manicurist, second year running. For me it is work that I can plan around my children and my partner. It is work which I enjoy and which I´ve been doing for seventeen years. I have a very diverse customer base of different ages and various professions. And I must say that it is a really great bunch of women whom I am always looking forward to seeing and in addition every one of them has some story. It is nice that they came to help me to Prague with the event without any obligation to do it.
And what kind of project or event is it?
The association itself has been operating for over four years, I myself have been moving in the field of hemato-oncology for around the ninth year. The project Star for Children has been operating for a third year running and it is a branch of the project from Olomouc, the “making of advent wreaths" where nurses from the hemato-oncology department made advent wreaths with their patients, parents and other nurses or friends. The events took place in the hospital environment. I have taken over the project and "replanted" it in Prague. I am terribly pleased that my colleagues and friends who stayed with me from the time of my work in the public eye, came in their free time and helped me with the production.
I have the feeling that this event was enjoyed by everyone, because both men as well as women take a part in it. It is a pleasant affair, where one relaxes and somehow improves his creativity. The produced wreaths are to be sold by 30. 11. 2018 in Gallery 1, in Štěpánská Street 47, Prague 1. In exceptional cases we can send a wreath also by mail. From all the contributions we buy Christmas cards and medical needs for four children´s hemato-oncology departments, which is Olomouc, Ústí nad Labem, Plzeň and Ostrava.
I have been preparing this event for two, three months, often over the phone. I must also give my thanks to the Brno-based partners and one from Prague, because the event could only be carried out thanks to them and therefore the implementation of this project succeeded. I want to thank the team of my friends, who in their free time helped to prepare the event, all "stars" and other friends who were involved in the production. And thanks to everyone who gets involved in any way to help "Vlaďka´s children".
This means that I come here and make a wreath, or buy one made by someone else?
If you are not or you just don´t feel like being creative, you will choose someone else´s and buy a wreath which you like and which fits into your apartment. If you are creative or you are in the mood to make something, you take the corpus, select your colour of decorations which you enjoy and make your wreath and put the contribution into the money-box.
This year we have added further options. There are plenty of people who would like to participate and cannot come or who cannot buy the wreath for some reason. We came up with an option to buy an angel bracelet or an angel, too. Everyone who wants to be involved in supporting of these four paediatric haemato-oncological departments, may either order a wooden angel or a bracelet for good luck as a symbol of hope and protection. I think that it should be like that because there are angels everywhere around us.
You have been devoted to sick children yourself for a third year running. Is there always some story that touches your heart?
You have a recent story which you would like to mention?
The first and last, which I let myself to be completely involved in. This was little David, who started treatment when he was around three years old. His mother, at that time pregnant, gave birth when little Davídek was already being treated. He was treated for approximately five years, has undergone over a hundred general anaesthesias and other unpleasant operations and interventions related to the therapy. Often repeatedly.
Little David has left up when he was eight years old. In those five years he brought together many people. He had various visions, various wishes and brought together a great number of people who have stayed here. In a way he showed them what is important and taught them through his story to reassess their lives and priorities. At that time I also involved the then hockey club of Zlín. When little David left, there was a whole team there headed by Petr Čajánek, and a lot of other people that were brought together by David´s life and the fight with his disease.
Davídek really handed blessing all round - he had a huge heart, he was mature, in a way that we even as adults, don´t often are. This little boy had it in him. That is why I say that David was exceptional. Even Viktorka knew him, we have been together at the start as well as the end. It was an honour for me to be part of his life and I am very glad that we are in contact with his mother and with little David´s brother, Lukášek, who was born during the treatment.
You have yourself had major health problems. How are you now?
It is true that I left in August 2015 and from October to around April of the next year I went from one hospital to another, from one doctor to another. There were not any completely positive findings, but I am a child of fortune, I got off scot-free. I had two operations and I spent a few weeks at an intensive care unit. But I have to say, touch wood, that I am healthy in the long run and I am very grateful for that.
I cannot say that I am not stressed out. But because I´ve visited a doctor of psychiatry and subsequently a therapist where I regularly go every week, I feel much better in myself. And that, I think, is also reflected on my physical condition.
Remind us what kind of health problems did you have...
These were not completely happy issues, but I am healthy and that is essential.
What does luxury mean to you and what are you looking forward to?
Luxury is an expression that of course has many points of view. But mine is today primarily that I am healthy. Because if I can be healthy myself and my children are happy, everything else stems from that. I am glad for that, because I know that this is not for granted.
Nowadays for me luxury means when my children are for two days with their granny Evička or aunties and when Kometa gives a day off to my man. It is a break away from the daily routine, for a while it is just me and Michal. Maybe just with a TV, good food, relaxation and sleep. These nowadays luxury moments for us.
Don´t you want to have a third child?
A third child is about a serious decision of two people and with Michal we haven´t come to a definite conclusion on this topic.
And what about a wedding?
Today I consider our relationship to be stronger and more serious than at the beginning.
We agreed that we are perhaps mature enough to say ´yes´ to one another. Because essentially with my past relationships, I´ve always had children within two years, then I got married and then I got a divorce again. Maybe the other way round would be the right way to go round it. (laughter)
I have fallen in love with Michal by degrees, all the more I feel the strength and the value of our relationship. At the beginning I was so broken up that I had no thoughts of a child or a wedding at all. We have moved on a developed. Not everything had always been sunny, some things we had to overcome together. But I dare say that we have achieved a great deal and today we are at a stage that we have told each other: "Yes, let us try". We do not know when, we do not know how, whether at an office, in three months or in three years. And it is possible that our attitude will change over time.
So, the idea of the wedding has appeared now, but the idea of another child is just that, an idea.
Even so these are fine news. But what will your name be?
Good question, I appreciate that. (laughter) I came to the conclusion that I´ve been Řepková Bahenská for many years mainly because of the children. Now I´ve met a kind of wise lady who told me that names are the karma of a family. So, I want to change my name to Erbová. And if it ever happened to me that I will marry again, I will for ever remain just Erbová. It is my maiden name, I was born with it and I perhaps want to die with it, too.